How Harper Levine Grew to become an Below-the-Radar Artwork World Powerhouse

Harper Levine on no account predicted this. Now 54, he has expended most of his specialist on a regular basis dwelling as a uncommon book vendor, making a group in St. Paul, Minnesota, and, since 2010, the Hamptons. Above the yrs artists reminiscent of Richard Prince and Eddie Martinez would seem in to get help on making their libraries or to amass books on obscure Japanese pictures or Beat literature. Some turned his buddies.

It was at their urging that Levine began staging exhibitions at Harper’s Guides, in East Hampton. In 2014, when an artist canceled, he texted Prince, soliciting for options to fill the situation. “Figgis,” got here the reply. Prince had simply these days discovered Genieve Figgis on Twitter and fallen for her feathery, macabre work. Levine took Prince’s ideas, and the reveal supplied out. “That was after I began out to truly really feel {that a} vocation as a gallerist was attainable,” Levine states.

Marcus Brutus’s painting “Horse Jumper,” side of the opening exhibition at Harper’s Gallery’s new Manhattan outpost.

Courtesy Harper’s, New York

In March, Harper’s Gallery opened a 4,000-square-foot space on West twenty second Street in Manhattan, on the precise block as heavyweights like Hauser & Wirth. It’s Levine’s sixth department—his footprint has tripled across the earlier two years—and he now has outposts in East Hampton, Manhattan, and Los Angeles. He represents 16 artists and employs 12 folks right now. “I had a imaginative and prescient,” Levine claims. “I made the choice that what I needed to do with the remainder of my on a regular basis dwelling was to function a higher gallery.”

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Many are shocked by Levine’s ascent, and Levine shares the sentiment. A New York City indigenous, he required to be a writer, however he dropped out of an MFA program at St. Paul’s Hamline College in 2001 and went into bookselling. “All of the a very long time prior, the time as a ebook seller and a author, was simply main as much as this abstract that I used to be meant to be a gallerist,” Levine suggests.

harper levine marcus brutus
Marcus Brutus’s “Dolphin Dance,” on see at Harper’s Gallery. Different artists Levine has revealed contain Genieve Figgis, Jennifer Guidi, and Joel Mesler.

Courtesy Harper ’ s , New York

In 2016 he opened Harper’s Condominium, a pied-à-terre turned exhibition space on East 74th Avenue, his preliminary foothold in New York. It was a home affair, with displays of rising artists like Jennifer Guidi and Joel Mesler, and instantly after openings Levine would at occasions snooze on the pullout couch. These days his process is far bigger, however its lower-essential vibe nonetheless appeals to artists and collectors. “Individuals are fired up about his plan,” suggests artwork adviser Benjamin Godsill, who has purchased will work from the gallery. “It feels fairly of the minute.”

Levine has additionally had the good fortune of driving the updated art work market’s wave. Get Figgis, whose jewel-toned rococo ghouls influenced the 2019 spring assortment by Marc Jacobs. As her viewers expanded, her work ignited bidding wars at public sale, advertising for as considerably as $638,692, a a lot cry from her 2014 solo debut at Harper’s, wherever prices began off at $6,000. “Harper’s a person who’s usually looking ahead,” says Marcus Brutus, the painter whose function opened the brand new gallery. (In Would possibly Harper’s two Chelsea areas will current do the job by the late summary painter Youthful-Il Ahn.)

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Artists need to clearly present with Levine, Godsill claims, because of the reality they really feel that he understands them. Even although his gallery is younger, Levine has used a few years looking out and pondering about art work from a definite place of see than fairly a couple of of the sector’s prime gamers. “He’s a particular artwork vendor,” Godsill states. “A peaceable, gentle, and developed soul.” Evidently, good fellas do not need to finish final.

This story appears within the April situation of Metropolis & Area. Subscribe Now

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